Michael Vick was recently released from a two year stint in prison for his role in dog fighting operation. At the time, he was playing under the richest NFL contract that would have given him $100 million over the life of contract. Following everything that happened, he ran into trouble with the IRS, was forced to declare bankruptcy, was released by the Falcons from his lucrative contract, and upon his release, it was still questionable as to whether or not the NFL would reinstate him. Even still, many animal rights organizations still protest the move by the Philadelphia Eagles to sign the embattled Vick. The Philadelphia Daily News blasted the move by the Eagles with headlines screaming "Hide Your Dogs" and "What Are They Thinking?" He was a marquee player who is having to start from scratch.
In contrast, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth pled guilty to a charge of DUI manslaughter earlier this year. While driving drunk he killed a 59 year old pedestrian, a human being with a family and responsibilities to loved ones and to his community. He served 24 days of a 30 day prison sentence, and has been suspended for one season, but will be reinstated after the Super Bowl in 2010, making him eligible for the 2010 season. He is suspended without pay for the upcoming season, but still has a contract with his team and will have a place with the Browns next season.
Although deplorable, Michael Vick's actions remained limited to animals. Donte Stallworth is responsible for the death of a man, a father, husband, who had a job and people to care for, but because we live in a society that has a permissive attitude towards riotous living, even at the cost of the lives of other people, but never animals, he received a far less severe punishment. It just amazes me.